The state-level Namsoong Festival celebrated at Biraspati Parsai Government Senior Secondary School ground, Marchak, Ranipool

Gangtok, Jan 7 (IPR): The state-level Namsoong Festival was celebrated with great enthusiasm and traditional fervour at Biraspati Parsai Government Senior Secondary School ground, Marchak, Ranipool today.

The event was graced by Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang as the chief guest. He was accompanied by his spouse Smt. Krishna Rai. The program had the special presence of Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, MP Lok Sabha, Advisors and Chairpersons, and other dignitaries.

On his arrival, the Chief Minister was accorded a warm welcome by the Celebration Committee and escorted to the traditional stalls, where authentic items of the Lepcha community were on display.

The Chief Minister was then escorted to the specially prepared traditional Lepcha Hut ‘Rong Lee’.

Thereafter, the Chief Minister participated in the ceremonial puja with the Bongthing – the Lepcha priest.

The programme at the main stage commenced with the chief guest being honoured with the Lepcha traditional hat – ‘Sumok Thyaktok’.

Presentation of traditional Lepcha dance forms set the tone for the day, complimented by Tamang, Bhutia and Nepali Dance.

Ms. Dipanwati Debnath, a resident of Jalpaiguri, presented a Lepcha song on the occasion.

The programme also had the felicitation of prominent personalities to honour their outstanding contribution in their respective field.

The following personalities were felicitated on the occasion by Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang:

1. Shri K.C. Lepcha

2. Shri Lendup Lepcha

3. Shri Passang Namgyal Lepcha

4. Shri Ongden Tshering Lepcha

5. Shri Ongyal Tshering Lepcha

6. Shri Sonam Wangchuk Lepcha

7. Shri Loden Gyatso Lepcha

Three organizations, namely Rupdong RINA, Sikkim Garib Jankalyan Prakoshta, and SKM Social Service Wing were also felicitated in recognition of their service.

Thereafter, the State Level Namsoong Festival Celebration Committee and various organizations felicitated Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang.

Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang in his address extended warm greetings and best wishes to everyone present on the special occasion.

He said that the state-level Namsoong celebration has been organised as a part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commemorating the 75th year of Indian Independence.

The Chief Minister said that each festival celebrated in Sikkim depicts the feeling of unity among the people of Sikkim. He said that these festivals should not be confined to a particular community, but should be celebrated by all communities as their own. He said that this transition is visible after the present government came to power.

He said that he has attended all the State Level Festivals in the past one month, along with Cabinet Ministers, MLAs and other dignitaries as a gesture of support and encouragement to the organizers, and a step towards preserving our rich culture and tradition.

The Chief Minister stressed on the need for each community to preserve their traditional attire. He placed a suggestion on the occasion – all Government employees can wear Sikkim’s traditional attire atleast once a week or once a month. He said that this was just an advice or a suggestion, and is open for public opinion and feedback.

He said that the recently announced ‘Apatan Fellowship Scheme’ is a step towards preserving our local languages. He urged the Lepcha scholars to encourage the Lepcha youth to take benefit from this scheme.

He added that the Mega Homestay Scheme is yet another initiative to promote our local culture and cuisine.

Further, the Chief Minister exhorted the people of Sikkim to keep aside all differences and stay united.

Speaking on the situation invited by Covid-19, the Chief Minister recalled the innovative approach of the State Government during the first and second wave of Covid-19, and added that the Government is committed to bring about major reforms in the health sector. He said that the Government’s vision is to make Sikkim self-reliant in the health sector.

The Chief Minister spoke in detail about the ‘Chief Minister’s Medical Assistance Scheme’, a special initiative of the Chief Minister’s Office to grant financial assistance to people who are in genuine need. He informed that the Scheme is being managed by a four-member team comprising of two doctors, one Joint Secretary, and a staff, and the office is situated at old STNM Hospital which is functional each week from Thursday to Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. He also explained the mechanism of sanction of the assistance amount within a week’s time.

The Chief Minister also highlighted some of the major developmental work of the Government in the past two and half years.

He made a special mention of the ‘AAMA’ Scheme envisioned by the State Government to provide financial assistance to mothers who are genuinely in need.

Addressing the demands placed by the Celebration Committee, the Chief Minister made the following announcements:

1. Stairway to Heaven project in Daramdin will be completed before 2024.

2. He said that the Government will allot a suitable land in Gangtok for the construction of a Lepcha community house.

3. Hee Gyathang Senior Secondary School has been upgraded as a model school and necessary budget has been sanctioned.

Earlier, on his arrival, the Chief Minister was welcomed at Biraspati Parsai Government Senior Secondary School and given guard of honour by the school NCC.

Addressing the request of the school SMC, he presented an amount of Rupees Ten Lakhs from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the upgradation of the school. He also presented an amount of Rupees Five Lakhs to the school band for the purchase of equipment.

Earlier, the programme was addressed by Minister cum Chief Patron of the Celebration Committee Shri Kunga Nima Lepcha, Minister cum Patron Shri Samdup Lepcha, and MLA cum Chairman of the Celebration Committee Shri Sonam Tshering Venchungpa.

The welcome address was delivered by Chairman, Primitive Tribe Welfare Board, Social Welfare Department, cum President, Lepcha Association of Sikkim, Shri Chewang Norbu Lepcha.

The programme concluded with the vote of thanks proposed by Publicity Secretary, Namsoong Celebration Committee, Shri Krishna Lepcha.

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